At a conference of coalition members tasked with fighting ISIS in Rome yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry said members of the terrorist organization are not Muslims but apostates of Islam.

“Daesh [ISIS] is in fact nothing more than a mixture of killers, of kidnappers, of criminals, of thugs, of adventurers, of smugglers and thieves,” Kerry said. “And they are also above all apostates, people who have hijacked a great religion and lie about its real meaning and lie about its purpose and deceive people in order to fight for their purposes.”

Apostate, according to The Washington Post, has traditionally been used to describe an individual or, in the plural, a group who abandoned or renounced their religion. Kerry’s application of the term to ISIS is somewhat ironic considering the terrorist organization has justified its attacks on other Muslims by claiming the victims were apostates themselves, which suggests ISIS militants are active participants in the Muslim faith.

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